How to Buy a House in Oklahoma: 8 Steps Real Estate Experts Recommend

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By Jamie Ayers Updated April 1, 2024

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8 Steps to Buying a House in Oklahoma

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Now that the housing market is finally calming down after the pandemic[1], buyers are facing a new challenge: Soaring mortgage rates.[2]

In Oklahoma, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 7.02% — up from 2021's historic lows. This raises the average monthly mortgage payment to $1,046 (assuming a 20% down payment at the median home value).

But buying a home in Oklahoma is still possible, even for first-time home buyers. Many markets are seeing frequent price drops and fewer offers, giving motivated buyers the upper hand in negotiating for the best price.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to buy a house in Oklahoma with confidence no matter what the market brings. Learn why you can trust our advice.

Whether you're actively house hunting or just starting to browse homes on Zillow, it's never too early to find a great local realtor to guide you on your search. An experienced agent can help you navigate a tricky housing market, explore your financial options, and negotiate the best deal possible.

Best of all, hiring a real estate agent comes at no extra cost to you — since the seller typically pays both their listing agent and your buyer's agent.

Ready to find a great local realtor, but not sure where to start? The best (and easiest!) option is to try a free agent matching service like Clever Real Estate. Answer a few simple questions about your home buying goals, and Clever will match you with hand-picked agents from Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and other top brokerages in your area. Find a top local agent and make your home buying dreams a reality today!

Step 1: Save for a down payment

🔑 Key takeaway:

Your down payment can be less than 20% of the purchase price — $39,219 for the typical home in Oklahoma — but you'll have to purchase mortgage insurance and pay more interest over the life of your loan.

Your down payment is the first part of your home's purchase price that you pay at closing. Your mortgage lender will pay the remaining balance.

Typically, mortgage lenders in Oklahoma want you to contribute 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. That would be $39,219 for a $196,095 home — the typical home value in Oklahoma.

However, you have options to lower your down payment amount.

Government backed loans, like VA and FHA loans, allow you to contribute 0% and 3.5% of your home's purchase price respectively. Even conventional loans allow for down payments as low as 3-5% (though the minimum varies by lender).

But making a down payment of less than 20% comes with some risks.

First, because you're borrowing more money, you'll have a higher monthly payment and pay more in interest over the life of your loan.

Second, you may have to purchase mortgage insurance.

Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance (PMI) until your loan balance reaches 80% of the purchase price. FHA loans, on the other hand, require a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of your loans.

Mortgage insurance costs around 1% of your mortgage balance annually. However, rates vary based on your down payment and credit score. Typically, your mortgage insurance payment is added to your mortgage payment each month.

VA loans don't charge mortgage insurance. Instead, you'll pay a VA loan funding fee at closing, which can range from 1.4% to 3.6% of the purchase price.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about low-income home loans

Oklahoma down payment assistance programs

There are several down payment assistance (DPA) programs within the state that are geared towards first-time and low-income homebuyers. Eligible buyers may be able to receive a grant or second mortgage that can help them afford closing costs or a down payment.

Here are just a few DPA resources for Oklahoma residents:

OHFA Homebuyer DPA Program

The Oklahoma Home Financing Agency (OHFA) offers its OHFA GOLD program and OHFA DREAM program to eligible homebuyers. Both programs offer 3.5% down payment assistance to repeat and first-time buyers.

To be eligible, you must have a credit score of at least 640 and not exceed household income limits and or the maximum purchase price in your region.

REI DPA Program

The non-profit organization REI Oklahoma offers a DPA program for residents across the state. Financial assistance can reach up to 5% of the total loan amount for borrowers with an FHA, VA, Freddie Mac HFA Advantage loan, or a rural development loan. Those with a Fannie Mae HFA Preferred loan may receive a 7-year forgivable second mortgage of up to 5% of the total loan amount.

To be eligible, your credit score must be at least 640, and you cannot exceed the maximum purchase price or household income limits.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD’s list of alternative programs in Oklahoma can be found here.

Step 2: Find a great real estate agent in Oklahoma

🔑 Key takeaway:

Interview multiple agents to find one who knows your target neighborhoods, has experience in your price range, and communicates well.

Your real estate agent will be your main ally during the home buying process. Besides finding and showing you properties, your agent will help you make offers, negotiate contracts, and navigate the closing process. Plus, they can recommend other service providers like title companies and inspectors to help you buy your home in Oklahoma.

Don't rush into choosing an agent. Instead, take the time to research and interview multiple real estate agents who have experience in the neighborhoods you're interested in. You should pay attention to a realtor's:

  • Years of experience
  • Number of transactions in the last year (the more the better!)
  • Experience in your price range
  • Overall review score
  • Individual reviews and complaints
👋 Find the best realtors near you!

Finding a great real estate agent shouldn't be complicated. Let Clever Real Estate do the hard part and match you with experienced local realtors who are experts in your market.

Enter your zip code below to compare top agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway, and Coldwell Banker, then choose the best fit for you. It's 100% free, and there's no obligation.

Step 3: Get preapproved for a mortgage

🔑 Key takeaway:

Once you're preapproved for a mortgage, it's imperative that your financial situation doesn't change. If your credit drops, it can derail the process and keep you from closing on your house.

Here are some easy ways to ensure your credit doesn't change after you receive your preapproval letter:

  • Avoid opening new credit accounts
  • Don't close any accounts that have been open for a long time
  • Make all of your credit card payments on time

» LEARN MORE: What factors do mortgage lenders consider?

A mortgage preapproval letter is an offer to lend you up to a certain amount of money to purchase a home. It shows sellers that you are a serious buyer who is financially qualified to make an offer on a home.

Most sellers in Oklahoma will require preapproval before showing you their home.

You don't have to decide on one lender right now. In fact, you should compare interest rates and preapproval amounts from several lenders to make sure you're getting the absolute best terms when you buy your Oklahoma home.

Step 4: Choose the right location

🔑 Key takeaway:

Search for neighborhoods where:

  • Home prices are within your price range
  • Home values are on the rise
  • The local amenities support your lifestyle

Currently, the typical home value in Oklahoma is $196,095, but don't worry if that doesn't perfectly match your budget. Home prices vary dramatically from city to city and even from neighborhood to neighborhood!

Also, look at past home value trends. This will give you an idea of how much your home's value could go up over the next few years.

To give you an idea of how appreciation could impact what your house is worth in the future, consider these examples from three neighborhoods in Oklahoma City:

Home value appreciation in Oklahoma City

Neighborhood 2015 Current Appreciation
Meridian Avenue Corridor $90,128 $162,266 44.5%
The Village $124,741 $206,109 39.5%
Belle Isle $165,085 $257,581 35.9%
Show more

Step 5: Start house hunting in Oklahoma

🔑 Key takeaway:

House prices in Oklahoma are still increasing but inventory continues to climb, so it may be easier for house hunters to find the perfect home within their budget. If you’re buying in Oklahoma, consult with your agent and keep an open mind, as the market may still be hot depending on your location. Check out the listings they show you even if they may not look like what you’d want — the options they find might surprise you.

Searching for homes in Oklahoma is the fun part of the home buying process! You'll get to look at a variety of homes and discover what you really want in a home.

Make a list of everything you want in a home and prioritize them. At the top of the list should be the items that are most important to you. This will help you separate your "must-haves" from your "nice-to-haves."

Your agent can help you understand if your wants are realistic for your budget and favorite neighborhoods or if you need to rethink what you're looking for.

Look at current housing inventory

The timing of your house hunt in Oklahoma can have a big impact on your number of options. For example, in Oklahoma, July has historically seen the most homes for sale. Searching in this season could give you more options and a greater likelihood of finding your dream home.

On the other hand, January gives you the fewest choices in Oklahoma. Historically, there are 31.8% fewer homes for sale than during Oklahoma's peak season.

Housing inventory in Oklahoma by season

Step 6: Make an offer

🔑 Key takeaway:

Trends in Oklahoma vary wildly across local markets; listings in desirable neighborhoods are getting picked up quickly, whereas those in more rural areas are sitting stagnant. To have the easiest time creating an offer, work with your realtor — they know your local area intimately and can advise you on how strong of an offer you need to put forward.

Once you find a Oklahoma house you love, it's time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you write a compelling offer that gives you the best shot of convincing the homeowner to sell to you.

Currently, in Oklahoma, homes stay on the market for 64 days before going under contract. However, every market goes through seasonal changes. During busier months, homes get snatched up more quickly than others.

Historically, Oklahoma homes sell fastest in April, where the average property is only on the market for 57 days. If your home search falls around this time, you should be prepared to move quickly and potentially make offers on several homes before yours is accepted.

On the other hand, if you buy in January, you have a bit more time to search. Homes typically stay on the market 14 days longer than Oklahoma's annual average.

Average time homes spend on market in Oklahoma

» LEARN MORE: What should an offer include?

Step 7: Inspections and appraisals

Inspections and appraisals are an opportunity for you to better evaluate the home's condition and value before officially purchasing it. You may have an opportunity after this step to renegotiate the terms of your contract with the seller if something unexpected pops up.

🔑 Key takeaway:

  • Inspections: A licensed professional checks the house for any unseen, unexpected, or potential issues.
  • Appraisals: An appraiser hired by your lender examines the house to determine how much it's worth.

Home inspections in Oklahoma

Having your Oklahoma home inspected by a licensed inspector gives you peace of mind about the condition of the property before you commit thousands of dollars to purchase it.

Your inspector should check out the following parts of the property:

  • Roof
  • Foundation
  • Electrical system
  • HVAC system
  • Plumbing

If the home has a septic system, you should also pay for a septic inspection to make sure it doesn't have any problems that wouldn't be covered in a typical home inspection.

Oklahoma-specific inspections

Sellers are required by Oklahoma law to fill out a disclosure form about their property to alert prospective buyers of any known issues. However, it's possible that some problems have gone unnoticed by the seller. To make sure a home is in excellent condition before closing, homebuyers are strongly advised to conduct a few extra tests in addition to a general home inspection.

Here are a few important tests you might want to consider:

  • Radon testing: Radon levels in certain areas of Oklahoma can exceed safe levels, which can pose health risks to you and your family. If the seller hasn't performed a radon test in the past year, it's highly recommended to do one as soon as possible. You can order a free radon test kit from the ​​Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality by filling out a form here.
  • Pest inspection: Some lenders require pest inspections before they'll approve a loan, but all homebuyers should consider hiring a pest inspector before closing on a home. Termites and other pests can cause structural damage to a property without the seller's knowledge, so it's best to catch potential infestations early.

Appraisals

Appraisals determine the value of the property. If you're using a mortgage to buy your new home, your lender will order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth the money that it's loaning you.

» LEARN: 3 options for buyers after a low appraisal

Step 8: Close on your new home!

🔑 Key takeaway:

Before you close on your new home, you and your agent will do a final walkthrough of the property to ensure that it's still in the expected condition.

On closing day in Oklahoma, you'll meet at the title company to complete your paperwork and settle your closing costs.

Prepare to spend about an hour reviewing and signing several legal documents, including:

  • Your final loan application
  • The deed
  • The mortgage promissory note
  • The disclosure statements

Take your time to ensure that all the information is correct and that you fully understand everything. If anything is filled out incorrectly, it could cause problems with the title transfer or your loan application.

Once the paperwork is complete, you'll be asked to pay your closing costs. You can give the total sum you owe to your title company, and they'll take care of disbursing the funds to the proper recipients.

Buyers can generally divide their closing costs into four main categories:

  • Lender fees: Fees paid to your mortgage lender for preparing your loan. These fees may also cover other costs associated with your loan, such as appraisal and survey fees.
  • Title and escrow charges: Fees the title company charges for facilitating the closing process. These expenses are often split between the buyer and seller.
  • Prepaid costs: Ongoing costs of homeownership that are paid up front. Lenders frequently require borrowers to pay for recurring expenses in advance, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.
  • Other closing costs: Miscellaneous expenses that vary from buyer to buyer. Some miscellaneous costs can include natural disaster certification fees, pest inspection fees, or real estate attorney fees.

Buyers in Oklahoma typically pay 3–5% of the purchase price in closing costs. For a $196,100 home — the typical home value in Oklahoma — that's between $5,883 and $9,805!

⚡Make your home-buying dreams a reality!

Ready to make your home-buying dreams a reality? The first step is to find a top local realtor who's an expert negotiator with proven experience in your market.

Enter your zip code below to compare the best agents from trusted brands like Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway, and Coldwell Banker, then choose the best fit for you. It's 100% free and there's no obligation.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a real estate attorney in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma does not require you to hire a real estate attorney to buy a home. However, depending on your circumstances, you might consider hiring one anyways. If you do, treat the process similarly to hiring an agent. Interview multiple attorneys and proceed with the one that best meets your needs.

What are the steps to buy a house in Oklahoma?

  1. Save for down payment
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  3. Choose your preferred Oklahoma neighborhoods
  4. Partner with the right real estate agent in Oklahoma
  5. Go house hunting
  6. Make a strong offer
  7. Inspections and appraisals
  8. Do a final walkthrough and close

Does Oklahoma have a first time home buyer program?

Yes, the OHFA Gold loan is available to first-time homebuyers working with approved lenders. Eligible borrowers can receive a loan of up to 3.5% to cover closing costs or a down payment.

The home purchase price must not exceed $310,600, and household income limits also apply. Income thresholds are determined by the size of the household and which county the property is located in.

» READ: What are the top first-time homebuyer programs?

Why trust us?

Clever Real Estate is a free agent-matching service that has helped more than 82,000 people buy and sell homes. We partner with over 2,700 top-performing agents nationwide at national brokers including Keller Williams, RE/MAX, Century 21, and more. We also help buyers save money with cash back after closing — no strings attached.

We’ve earned buyers’ trust with a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and over 1,800 customer reviews.

Our team of industry-leading researchers is committed to making homeownership more accessible by educating buyers through guides like this one. We've spent thousands of hours analyzing publicly available data, surveying consumers, and interviewing industry experts. Our research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.

Learn more about Clever.

Article Sources

[1] Federal Reserve – "Housing Market Tightness During COVID-19: Increased Demand or Reduced Supply?". Updated July 08, 2021. Accessed October 11, 2022.
[2] Consumer Protection Financial Bureau – "The Fed is raising interest rates. What does that mean for borrowers and savers?". Updated March 17, 2022. Accessed October 11, 2022.

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